The Best Mexican Food in Los Angeles
Here are some of the best Mexican eateries throughout the Los Angeles are. They all range from traditional to contemporary but all offer great food and delicious experiences.
With Los Angeles being so close to Mexico, the Mexican cuisine here is an authentic and everlasting staple of the city’s culinary scene. It is not difficult to find restaurants serving up both traditional and contemporary Mexican delights. Here are the best spots to find the most delectable and filling Mexican food in all of Los Angeles.
Experience traditional, authentic, and homemade Mexican food right in central Los Angeles, near the University of Southern California. The name of this restaurant comes from the world famous Mayan ruins located in the Yucatan. Chichen Itza offers flavors and cooking styles from the Yucatan peninsula served up on a steaming plate. Nationally acknowledged Chef and owner Gilberto Cetina uses recipes from one of Mexico’s most heritage rich states and adds in his own personal touch to give diners a unique dining experience that can be found at no place other than Chichen Itza. This family owned and operated establishment has been serving southern California proudly for over 15 years. The kitchen is operated by no other than Chef Cetina and his son, Chef Gilberto Cetina Jr.
The menu is comprised of some of the best recipes from Chef Cetina’s mother’s kitchen. These regional dishes were staples in the Cetina kitchen growing up and now are offered to guests from all around the Los Angeles area. Some of the dishes on the menu are Caldo de Pavo (Turkey Soup), Sopa de Lima (Lime Soup), tacos, and tamales. Don’t miss out on Yucatan regional classics such as the Pollo Pibil, which is a dish comprising of juicy chicken legs, marinated in achiote, spices and orange juice. The chicken legs are then cooked inside of a banana leaf and garnished with pickled onions and served with black beans, rice and tortillas. Another regional classic that is served up at Chichen Itza is the Tikin-xic. This dish includes 2 center cut basa fillets, marinated in lime juice and achiote. The restaurant serves this dish on top of a bed of rice and jicama salad. Don’t stop at Chichen Itza without experiencing the delectable postres (desserts). Consider the Papaya en Almibar, a papaya cooked in a light syrup or the Platano con Crema, a fried plantain served with cream.
This well established restaurant even offers cookbooks, gift cards, and specialty sauces for purchase on their website. Chichen Itza has received an astonishing amount of praise for unique combination of flavors and traditional experience. It has even been showcased on the Food Network channel. Visit this eatery for an amazing, locally renowned, and regional Mexican culinary experience, paired with a family friendly ambiance.
Address: 3655 S Grand Avenue #C6, Los Angeles
Hours: Open Daily from 8am to 9pm
Gabbi’s Mexican Kitchen
Gabbi’s Mexican Kitchen is one of the highest rated Los Angeles restaurants by Zagat in regards to food, decor, and service. Gabbi’s kitchen is a fusion of contemporary and traditional indigenous Mexican gastronomy of the Yucatan peninsula. The ambiance and menu both give diners a colonial Mexican feel and a unique experience. This restaurant is well known around the Orange and Los Angeles Counties as one of the most intriguing and inexplicable food establishments in the vicinity. The food here, especially the sauces, has taken Orange County by storm with its rich and quality flavors. Founder and Executive Chef Gabbi Patrick has always been fond of the food industry. By the age of 17, Gabbi was managing 2 of her family’s Los Angeles based restaurants. She then went on to pursue her culinary degree. Gabbi’s upbringing and passion for her Mexican heritage is portrayed within every bite taken at her restaurant.
The menu of Gabbi’s Mexican Kitchen is composed primarily of small plates, however there are various large plates available as well. Some small plates that are very worthy of mentioning are Quesadillas de Huitlacoche, a mexican huitlacoche with poblano sauce and the Taquitos de Pato (Duck Taquitos), which is comprised of a duck confit, cabbage, avocado, mole and cream. If you are after a large plate of food, consider the Puerco Poc-Chuc, which is a pork loin that is marinated in achiote marinade and topped with grilled onions and habanero salsa. It is then served alongside plantains and black beans. The Puebla Tacos are also an exceptional favorite of many diners. The Puebla Tacos are tacos filled with grilled carne asada, smoked applewood bacon, portuguese sausage, grilled onions, oaxaca cheese, and beans. Finish your delightful and travel driven meal with Gabbi’s housemade vanilla, pomegranate, and pumpkin pie sorbet, topped with a strawberry creme fraiche. Gabbi’s Mexican Kitchen also offers an extensive wine menu, featuring wine by the bottle or glass from all over the world.
Visit the restaurant’s fascinating website for some of Chef Patrick’s seasonal and very well thought out recipes. She also documents many of her travel ventures on the website’s blog. Experience a chic and high end delicious menu served by welcoming and inviting staff by paying Gabbi’s Mexican Kitchen a visit. You won’t be disappointed! Also please note that this restaurant does not have a sign out front. So don’t bother to look for one!
Address: 141 S Glassell Ave, Orange
Hours: Mon-Thurs and Sun 11am - 10pm, Fri and Sat 11am - 11pm
Another locally reputable Mexican restaurant that showcases regional Mexican flavors is Guelaguetza. This time it's the regional cuisine of the state of Oaxaca being presented. The state of Oaxaca is considered to be the gourmet heart of Mexico and its reputation is heavily displayed through the culinary skills and conceptual talent of the Guelaguetza team. Owners and operators, the Lopez family, migrated to Los Angeles from Oaxaca in 1994, bringing their culinary palates and tradition along with them. The Lopez family’s motivation behind the restaurant is to establish a cultural presence of the Oaxacan people in Los Angeles and to do so by not compromising on quality and authenticity. The family’s recipes and products sold at their establishment have taken years to perfect and they wish to show the city what their home state of Oaxaca means to them.
Guelaguetza consists of a restaurant, product store, and mezcaleria. The store is online and stocks authentic Oaxacan chocolates and moles. The moles are exactly what you would find in Mexico and are enriched with the perfect blend of spices and flavors. Black, red, and Coloradito moles are all kept in stock at in the online store. The chocolates are all handcrafted and delectable. Make your own hot chocolate at home with the Guelaguetza chocolate bundle, which includes hand made chocolate and a hand crafted Molinillo, or a Mexican chocolate whisk.
With 80% of mezcal coming from the state of Oaxaca, it was predestined for the Lopez family to include a mezcaleria in their restaurant. Guelaguetza houses nearly 100 different mezcals at various price ranges. Also on the mezcal menu are the mezcaladas, the mezcal cocktails. A notary cocktail to try is the Garra de Tigre, made with mezcal, house syrup, lime juice, and Oaxacan salt. Another to definitely consider is the delicious and dessert like Mez-Choco, made with aged mezcal, baileys, Oaxacan chocolate, and mezcal float.
Most importantly, the food is the centerpiece of what makes this restaurant stand out. Guelaguetza offers breakfast, lunch, and dinner menus. There is even a family style menu made to share between 2 to 6 people. Some of the warm and inviting breakfast dishes that are a huge hit on the menu are Chilaquiles con Mole, which are Chilaquiles topped with your choice of mole sauce, eggs and cheese; and the Omelette Oaxacana which contains chorizo, cheese, and epazote and served with beans and 2 cheese quesadillas. The lunch and dinner menus include savory appetizers such as fresh guacamole, ensalada de nopalitos, and quesadillas fritas. The moles offered at Guelaguetza are the restaurant's most popular choice for lunch and dinner. Choose from 13 different moles, cooked with either chicken or pork and loaded with Oaxacan tradition and flavor. Can decide which mole you want? Then go for the Festival de Moles which includes 4 different moles along with chicken breast, rice, and handmade tortillas.
Not only does Guelaguetza offer online ordering, they also offer delivery. Stop in to this restaurant for a knowledgeable and passionate restaurant team, and a versatile culinary and mezcal treat!
Address: 3014 W Olympic Blvd, Los Angeles
Hours: Mon - Fri 9am-10pm, Sat 8am - 11pm, Sun 8am - 10pm
This inexpensive and casual taco spot was named as number one for Best Burritos in America 2015 by Daily Meal. Tito’s Tacos has established a solid reputation around Los Angeles as an authentic quickly made taco stand, supplying top-secret and heavenly goodness since 1959. Tito’s provides people from all walks of life a simplistic and traditional south of the border culinary experience. This taco dreamland trains each staff member on how to make each and every taco with perfection and consistency. The food is made consistently and fresh daily via a slow cooking method, allowing perfection in every bite.
At Tito’s Tacos, simplicity is the key to an authentic and harmonious Mexican meal. Start off at Tito’s with a Tito Taco with Cheese, which is simply Tito’s slow cooked and shredded beef, grated cheddar cheese, and slivered iceberg lettuce on a corn taco shell. Not a fan of cheese? Then go to the Tito Tao without Cheese. Tito’s menu does not stop and simplistic and delightful tacos. You can also have tamales, enchiladas, chips and salsa or guacamole, and chili con carne. If you stop here to grab a bite to eat, you most definitely should try the menu item that allowed Tito’s Tacos to secure a number 1 spot on Daily Meal’s 2015 list: The Burritos! Choose from simply a bean burrito to a relishing beef, bean, rice, and cheese burrito. Do not leave this taco stand without trying the winning burrito, a simple bean and cheese burrito, made with Tito’s slow cooked refried beans, grated cheddar cheese and a hot flour tortilla. If you are looking to feed a large crowd Tito’s can help you with that. Tito’s has large party platters of refried beans, rice, chili con carne, corn chips, guacamole, and salsa. Feed your group on platters that can cater up to 50 people! There is even an option to order online if you are planning to feed a crowd.
All good things come to those who wait. Like with any popular and crowd loving restaurant, there is typically a wait time. You can expect there to be a line that strings around the building and even around the corner during Tito’s busy times. Trust me, when you reach the counter to place your order and after your food is delivered to you, that first bite will be well worth the wait.
Address: 11222 Washington Pl, Culver City
Hours: Sun - Thurs 10am - 10pm, Fri and Sat 10am - 11pm
Mexicali Taco & Co
Bringing the city of Mexicali’s rich and bold flavors from Baja California to Los Angeles’ Chinatown is this reputable standing taco shack. The concept is simply and well made tacos that represent Mexicali well. Their ingredients are fresh and brought up from the Baja California region. Mexicali Taco & Co prides itself on its large portion offerings that are equally as flavorful and authentic as the usual tiny tacos that you would find in your typical taco restaurant. Founders, Esdras Ochoa and Javier Fregoso opened Mexicali Taco & Co to bring back the memories of their upbringing along the border of Baja California and all of the street food they devoured. These memories, along with their culinary journey inspired the two to open their very own homestyle restaurant in 2009 as a gift to Los Angeles.
The menu at Mexicali Taco & Co is very small, yet big in flavors. There are only 2 taco options on the menu however both will provide you with enough flavor to make your day. Choose between a taco made with your choice of fillings or a shrimp taco. Also on the menu are quesadillas, nachos, and queso fundido. Choose between four fillings: asada, chorizo, chicken, or vegetarian to accompany your food choice. The eatery also offers a salsa bar, where you can pick between numerous additional toppings to add a personalized dash of flavor to your food. Mexicali Taco & Co even offer on-site catering for large parties. Some of their many previous catering partners have included YouTube, Google, RedBull, UCLA, Citizens of Humanity, many movie and TV sets, and many weddings and private functions of locals.
Service here is always quick and consistent, even during the busiest times. One thing to be prepared for is that this restaurant is cash only. So remember to bring cash because credit cards and debit cards will not be accepted. There is an ATM on-site if you forget to bring cash. Even with the inconvenience of not offering bank card usage, the food is devine. Once you have your first bite, you will not care about the inconvenience of the place being cash only. The food is well worth the additional effort to visit an ATM. If you are in the Los Angeles area, be sure to stop here for an all-around satisfying and popular bite to eat.
Address: 702 Figueroa St, Chinatown
Hours: Mon - Thurs 11am - 10pm, Fri and Sat 11am - 12am
La Fogata Mexican Restaurant and Catering
La Fogata is a family owned and operated mexican restaurant located in the Los Angeles neighborhood of Sherman Oaks. This restaurant was opened by family member Doña Maria from Mexico City, who wanted to bring her homeland’s concept for big family gatherings and get-togethers to Los Angeles. La Fogata has been standing strong in Los Angeles since 1977 and has been successfully providing delicious Mexican homestyle cooked meals at an affordable price. The atmosphere is very casual, as there is no table service. You simply order and pay at the counter and then wait for your number to be called. You can then sit inside and eat or take your food to go.
The food at La Fogata is prepared freshly everyday. Here you can find anything that you would find on your typical Mexican menu along with other delicious entrees. If you stop into La Fogata for meal in the morning, be sure to check out the awesome and hearty dishes on the breakfast menu. The breakfast menu includes classics such as huevos rancheros, huevos con machaca, carne asada con huevos, chilaquiles, and breakfast burritos. Some of the breakfast items are even served all day. On the lunch and dinner menu, there are also numerous traditional Mexican dishes that are very satisfying. There are quesadillas, nachos, and burritos. If you are looking to have a meal fit for royalty, then go for one of the combo meals, where you can pick one of the entrees along with a choice of 2 sides from the following: refried pinto beans, black beans, rice, and salad. Consider one of the Platillos or the Mariscos as other additional options if you are looking for something big enough to feast on. Bring your vegetarian friends here as well because La Fogata has an entire section of their menu dedicated to vegetarians and veggie lovers. The vegetarian section is also good for those looking to have traditional Mexican flavors but with fewer calories.
La Fogata’s catering menu is just as popular as their dining menu. If you have a big event or large party in the works, consider the catering options that this eatery offers. They cater small pickup orders for corporations, birthday parties, and schools, to larger events such as quinceaneras and even weddings. Whether you are dining in or catering out, this spot will give you one of the best dining experiences that Los Angeles has to offer.
Address: 5142 Van Nuys Blvd, Los Angeles
Hours: Open Daily from 7:30am - 10pm
Manuel’s Original El Tepeyac Cafe
Home of the 5 pound burrito and 4 generations of family restaurant success is Manuel’s Original El Tepeyac Cafe. This delightful Mexican cafe was founded in 1952 in the neighborhood of Boyle Heights by Manuel Rojas and his family. In 2009 this restaurant was featured on Food Network with their Manuel’s Special Challenge, conquering the 5 pound burrito, which very few have accomplished. At 77 years of age, Manuel continues to live out the culinary dream in his restaurant every day starting a shift at 3am, 7 days a week. He makes each and every guest feel like family by welcoming everyone with a kiss and hug.
Manuel’s offers all day breakfast and lunch menus which includes various unique dishes. One of these dishes is Okie de Pollo, which is shredded chicken breast sauteed with onions and tomatoes, then topped with rice, beans, cheese, and red enchilada sauce. You can even get your hands on a traditional Hollenback here, which is pork simmered in a housemade red tomato chili verde sauce, and accompanied with rice, beans, and guacamole. You also have the option to try the exact same dish with chicken or beef if you prefer. If the 5 pounder burrito is too much for you to stomach, consider one of the 8 normal sized burritos, including 2 vegetarian options for the health conscious or animal lovers.
If you are leaning towards something to start off your day with, the breakfast options will leave you energized and ready to start your day. Pick of of the classics, Huevos Rancheros, Breakfast Burrito, Huevos con Chorizo, or Chilaquiles. If you are craving for a traditional American breakfast, there are choices for that as well. Choose between ham, bacon, and eggs, a ham and egg sandwich or pancakes and bacon.
Customers love coming back here again and again for the very generous portions, loving and friendly staff, and of course the Mexican family tradition that has kept this place going throughout the decades.
Address: 812 N Evergreen Ave, Los Angeles
Phone: 323-268-1960 or 323-268-1961
Hours: Mon and Tues 6am - 8pm, Wed - Thurs and Sun 6am - 9:45pm, Fri and Sat 6am - 11pm
El Compadre has been situated on Hollywood’s trendy and vibrant Sunset Boulevard. The concept behind El Compadre is to showcase the finest foods that comes out of Mexico. This restaurants serves family style recipes that have been handed over for generations. The ambiance resembles that of a traditional hacienda, or a Mexican estate. Every bite of food is comprised of seasonal and fresh produce, combined with the most exotic and rich spices that showcases Mexico’s best. Like the others, El Compadre is family owned and operated, giving it a family and personal touch that makes everything mend together perfectly. The family staff are just as passionate about the El Compadre experience as the restaurant’s long time customers and are constantly welcoming new customers to the El Compadre family.
The ambiance of this restaurant sets it apart from many other Mexican restaurants in Los Angeles. Its romantic mood and Mexican arts and crafts on display in the dining room give diners an exceptional treat to their visit.
As for the most important part of a diners experience, the menu offerings are all signature, delectable treats. The menu items are all traditional, yet the taste is a cut above many of the competition in Los Angeles. Consider the succulent steak quesadillas, shrimp cocktail, or nachos supreme to start your meal off with. After that, order either a combo meal or a la carte to cure your flavor desiring craving. Definitely consider the Bistec Ranchero or the Half Chicken A la Plancha. They are 2 dishes among the few specialties that El Compadre offer. Finish your meal off with the flan or house specialty ice cream. Lastly you must try one of their well renowned flaming margaritas. They are a specialty at this establishment and draws in crowds from all over for the flaming treat.
Since opening their doors in 1975, El Compadre has managed to successfully establish another location in Echo Park during 2004 and a downtown location in 2014. The El Compadre family is expanding and always looking to give its clientele memorable culinary experiences and great service.
Address: 7408 Sunset Blvd, Hollywood
Hours: Open Daily from 11am - 2am
Mexico has made a huge impact on the food that is available in Los Angeles. As the demand for both traditional and contemporary Mexican food increases, as will the Mexican restaurant concepts and offerings in Los Angeles.
Thumbnail Courtesy to http://www.10best.com/destinations/california/los-angeles/restaurants/mexican
This article was written by: